At home, saline solution can be created by combining some quantities of salt and water together.
Homemade saline solution is similar to the distilled water when properly prepared. Of this purpose it is safe to use as a sinus rinse in the nose and as a rinse for the eye. In addition, a person may use saline solution to rinse contact lenses, piercings, and cuts or scrapes, but this will not sterilize them.
We discuss how to make 0.9 per cent saline solution, its uses, and how to store it in this article.
Instructions for homemade saline solution
Homemade saline solution requires the following:
- 4 cups of distilled or boiled (for at least 20 minutes) water
- 2 teaspoons (tsp) of noniodized salt
- an airtight storage container with a lid, such as a bottle
- a mixing utensil
Use 1 cup of water with 1⁄2 tsp of salt to make a smaller pan.
When using tap water, first sterilize the water for at least 20 minutes, and remove any bacteria and chemicals. Leave it to cool before using. Stop the use of sea salt, as it contains extra minerals.
To make saline solution at home, follow these steps:
- wash the hands thoroughly
- sterilize the container and mixing utensil by using a dishwasher or boiling them in water
- pour the water into the container
- mix in the salt and stir until completely dissolved
- let the mixture cool before use
The saline solution is stored in an airtight container. Research suggests bacteria can grow within 24 hours in a home-made saline solution, and bacteria are less likely to grow when saline is chilled. Hold the solution in the refrigerator, whenever possible.
Saline solution for sinus irrigation
To make a sinus rinse, or nasal irrigation solution, follow these steps:
- mix together 3 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of baking soda
- add 1 tsp of this mixture into 1 cup of water and stir until the solids have dissolved
Squeeze the solution into the right then the left nostril, using a neti pot, ear bulb, or saline rinse bottle. Keep the head over a sink or bath, as the solution will come out of the nostrils.
How to make sure saline solution is safe
When making homemade saline, it is important to try to avoid any bacteria or other contaminants coming into the solution.
The following tips help prevent contamination of the saline solution:
- only use clean materials to make the saline solution
- avoid touching the solution with the fingers or hands
- use a thoroughly clean bottle for each new batch of saline solution
- use clean, dry droppers and rinse bottles when using the solution for irrigation
Contaminants can still affect the solution despite the best efforts of one person. If the solution looks cloudy or dirty, dispose of it.
Benefits of saline solution
Saline solution is salt water containing salt at 0.9 per cent. It has identical composition of salt and water to that of the blood and tears of a human. As a consequence it makes a valuable solution for irrigation.
Saline solution has many home uses, including:
- Clearing the sinuses. People can irrigate their nasal passages with saline solution to relieve the symptoms of sinusitis, colds, and allergies. Nasal irrigation moisturizes the nose and removes excess mucus and bacteria.
- Soothing the throat. A salt water gargle can help relieve a sore throat.
- Cleaning wounds. Saline can clean cuts and scrapes. Wound irrigation also removes dead skin cells and debris.
- Bladder irrigation. People with a catheter can use saline solution to irrigate the bladder.
- Rinsing contact lenses and piercings. Soaking contact lenses, piercings, and other objects in saline solution can help keep them free from bacteria.
The present small amount of salt may have an antibacterial effect. That is one of the reasons why salt-conserved foods tend to spoil less quickly than salt-free foods.
Risks and warnings
While salt can sting on an open wound, the low salt concentration in a saline solution does not mean it should sting or burn. If the solution does sting, the mixture may contain too much salt.
Avoid using too hot saline solution, as it can burn the delicate skin within the nasal passage, around the eyes, or around the wounds.
Try using saline solution before applying medications such as eye drops or inhaled mists for the best results, as the solution could wash away these.
Side effects are uncommon when people are using saline solution properly. It can help to make an effort to keep containers clean and free of bacteria, as can always wash hands before using the solution.
People can use salt and water to produce saline solution at home. They can also add baking soda for a rinse on the sinus.
People can rinse the sinuses using a homemade saline solution, make a salt water gargle, clean wounds and clear contact lenses, piercings or both.
When using saline solution in wounds, sinus passages or the bladder, people will want to speak to a doctor to make sure they do so safely.
If the solution comes into contact with something that a person has not sterilized or seems to be contaminated, then immediately dispose of the batch.